Study Advice

Why Making and Breaking Habits is Key to your VCE/ QCE Success

By Moya Ellis - 6 minute read

Habits that are good, and habits that are bad. Forming these habits are what make us human; it's an intrinsic part of life. Here we discuss how to make and break habits in order to succeed in your VCE and QCE exams.

Those who are lucky, or determined to succeed, thrive on developing the good habits that make them successful. However, for the rest of us, our attempts at making these good habits are short-lived, and tend to break away not long after they are created.

For good habits, they are hard to get into. They often require dedication, and are very easy to break. Conversely, bad habits are easy to form, and often very hard to break. Nobody knows this cycle more than a school student! Read the blog below and see can you identify with it and use it to improve your study methods.

It's safe to assume that every student begins their semester or year as follows:

  • The days leading up to the start of school, you’re not looking forward to ending the holidays, but you’re simultaneously excited to begin school. You tell yourself “OK! No more Mr. Slack. From Day 1, I am going to be the best student, I'm going to pay attention, and I’m going to make the best effort to impress my teacher, my parents, and myself. I’m going to wake up early, get to my classes early, and form so many good habits, that there is no chance I cannot succeed!” ...

  • For the first couple of days, things are going well, you stick to the amazing routine created, have all homework written down and completed, and you still have all 25 unnecessary highlighters that you told mum you needed for history class, and the mechanical pencil with an arsenal of replacement leads that will outlast the existence of your schooling.

  • A few more days pass by, and these routines and mindsets you have developed start to break. You forget the homework questions, start veering away from your dedicated routine, and within a few weeks, you are back to your old self again, telling yourself,  “Ahh it’s alright, I'll try again next term!”, ignoring the fact that this process of ambition and failure has occurred several times during your years at school.

     

If you have experienced this once, twice, or however many times it may be, don't feel bad! We've all been there and had the same successes and failures. What people fail to realise is that creating habits aren't as bad as they seem. It's like sport, you can't just be good, you need to work, and work hard to get what you want.

 

A habit can be defined as a routine of behaviour that is repeated regularly and tends to occur subconsciously. Sometimes, we have habits that we follow through with all the time without acknowledging it, just doing it.

Here, we're going to discuss several simple yet effective steps and techniques to master the habits you desire.

  • 1

    Identify your habit

    Its pretty simple, you need to choose what the actual habit is, and what it is that you want to accomplish from having it, or getting rid of it. This can also help you give notice to the habits you may not currently know you have. Sit back, and think: “what am I doing wrong?”, or “how am I wasting all of my time?”

  • 2

    Analyse your habit

    If you are trying to break a habit: determine where it  comes from, when it happens, how long it happens for and why you do it. For example, if you talk too much to your friends and it is impacting your grades, analyse it. Is it during class? Or at home on the computer? Who starts the conversations? Are they important? How is it impacting your work? Is it something you want to change?

    If you are trying to form a new habit: determine why it will help you, how strict you will be on it, and how often you will use it. For example, If you want to get into a study routine, figure out how many hours a week you need, when you are free, and any other factors that may impact it.

  • 3

    Develop the plan

    Like they say in life, “Goals in life without plans are just wishes”. Create a process you are going to repeat indefinitely until your habit is formed or broken. List the things you must do to accomplish your goal, and list the corresponding methods you will use to do it. For example, to study better, you may create a daily routine for studying, including the times you will study, as well as the length of which you will study for.

  • 4

    Execute your plan

    look at your plan and follow it. If you have created your plan properly, you should follow it with confidence, tell yourself you can do it. The beginning is rewarding, you feel better about yourself and you get to look forward to keeping your habit. But make sure you stick with your plan! Even if you think it's too hard, push through and get the results you initially desired, it is all worth it in the end.

That's it! That's all you need to do to form your new, or get rid of your bad habit! Ensure that the habit you make isn't too difficult to form. We all need to begin somewhere, so if you feel it will be too hard to immediately accomplish your goal, consider making the changes on a smaller level, and eventually build up to your goal.

 

If you have any other questions regarding good and bad habits, feel free to check out our discussion forum or get in touch with us!